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SIP-Based Push-to-Talk Moving Into Enterprise Territory


SIP-based PTT will let business users engage in quick conversations. It brings the benefits of consumer/carrier PTT solutions, as introduced by Motorola and Nextel, to all SIP-based phone systems. With a SIP core, this voice application can be closely tied into enterprise VoIP IP-PBX systems, unifying communication technologies on one platform.

The Open Mobile Alliance's PoC work group is responsible for the development of PTT technology; among its members are representatives from Motorola, Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson. The IETF is contributing with an RFC that addresses a portion of the OMA's efforts.

Development of the PoC standard is healthy, with a tract to satisfy the demands of wireless carriers hoping to provide PTT service to customers. Enterprise integration will undoubtedly follow, once the standard matures.

When Nextel Communications introduced cellular-based, walkie-talkie communications with its Direct Connect service, it revolutionized consumer telephony. Now the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) is standardizing that same technology for enterprise telephony with PoC (Push-to-Talk over Cellular), a specification providing Direct Connect's always-on service across SIP-based, wireless platforms.

With PoC deployed, field personnel and mobile teams will have a more efficient medium for short interactions. It provides the same sort of benefit beyond conventional voice conversation that IM offers compared with e-mail. However, while iDEN (the Motorola-developed technology on which Direct Connect is based) uses bandwidth normally allocated to telephone calls, causing capacity and cost problems for carriers, PoC will be more efficient by using the data side of the wireless network.

The OMA has the backing of big telecom players, as well as some cell carriers, and it's reasonable to believe that enterprise adoption of PoC isn't too far away. Still, PoC must gain industry traction, which would be accomplished most quickly with greater cooperation from carriers.

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